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Solla, Emilio

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  • Genre: Jazz
  • Instrument: Piano
  • Web Site: Here

    Born a sunny morning in Mendoza, Argentina, October 29th 1962, he began to study piano at the age of 8 at the National Conservatory of Music in Buenos Aires, where he graduated Cum Laude as a Piano Major. He continued to study composition, harmony, counterpoint, conducting, piano and improvisation with some of the most prestigious Argentinian professors, such as Susana Kassakoff and Gabriel Senanes. Once in Spain, where he moved in 1996, he continued to study conducting with Miquel Ortega and composition with Gabriel Brncic. In New York, he has attended jazz improvisation classes with different teachers (Fred Hersch, Bruce Barth) and currently participates in the BMI Jazz Composition Workshop, led by Jim Mc Neely.


From folk to jazz

    rom 1983 to 1994, Solla was a very active pianist in the Argentinean new music scene, leading the groups

    Apertura, Quinteto El Quartetazo and Emilio Solla y el 5 de Copas

    , building a reputation as a composer of a style of music that blends the modern tendencies of Argentinean folk and tango with jazz; musical stream in which he is considered nowadays one of the most representative artists.

    With these groups he made two albums and performed at theatres, jazz clubs, radio and TV programs, and in the International Festival Mardel Jazz in 1984 and 1985. The groups received several composition awards, like "Best Group, Popular Chamber Music", Argentinian Musical Youth (1986) and 1st prize in the Young Art Biennial, Buenos Aires (1991), and praising comments from press and well-known musicians, including Astor Piazzolla.  He also played piano in many local jazz bands, like Carlos Campos Quartet, Ara Tokatlian and 4 & Cuatro, among other.

    During these years he also worked with singers of different styles, often in charge of arranging and conducting, touring and recording in Argentina and Latin America. The list includes Jorge Sobral (Piazzolla's first orchestra singer), Miguel Cantilo, Marcelo San Juan, Cecilia Rossetto, Guillermo Fernandez and many more. He wrote music for theater and dance companies, also the keyboard section in the magazine El Musiquero and brought up dozens of students, some of which are now prominent artists.

The European period

    After moving to Barcelona, Spain in 1996, he focused in writing and playing his own music, mostly with the quintet Emilio Solla y Afines, with whom he has recorded four CDs:

    Apertura y Afines (PDI, 1996), Folcolores (Fresh Sound, 1998), Sentido (Fresh Sound, 2004) and Conversas (al lado del agua) (Fresh Sound, 2007). With this band he has performed extensively in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Finland and Switzerland in many of the major jazz houses (Fasching, Bimhuis, Moods) and some Jazz Festivals, such as Moscow Jazz Festival and Jyvaskyla (Finland).

    In the 31st edition of Barcelona Jazz Festival, 1999, he first presented his Suite Piazzollana, a major work for a nine piece ensemble that was recorded two years later (Fresh Sound, 2001), featuring some of the best young players in the NYC jazz scene, like Chris Cheek, Omer Avital and Jorge Rossy. This recording was a big step forward in his career and deserved acknowledgement by the press and fellow musicians such as Paquito D’Rivera and Fred Hersch.

    His wide and eclectic musical instruction and influences allowed him during this period to move naturally in extremely different musical contexts, from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (guest pianist in Edinburgh International Festival 1997) and the conduction of Bernstein's West Side Story with a 22 piece orchestra; to touring Japan with the "quena" player Jorge Cumbo or working with the Canadian genius of contemporary theatre Robert Lepage. He was also guest teacher in composition at different schools, such as Gotemburg School of Music (Sweden), Bates College (Maine, USA) or the Jazz & Pop Conservatory (Helsinki, Finland).


New York Times

    In 2006, thanks to a grant from the Catalonian Ministry of Culture, he moved to NYC, in search of personal and artistic growth. Since in New York, he has composed, arranged for and performed with Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo O’Farrill’s Latin Big Band and Pablo Aslan’s Avantango, among others, besides performing with his Tango Jazz Conspiracy in some of the main venues in town, like the Jazz Standard or Dizzie’s, featuring Chris Cheek, Victor Prieto, Jorge Roeder and Richie Barshay. This quintet is releasing its first CD, Bien Sur!

    (Fresh Sound, 2009), with special guest Billy Hart.

    He continues to tour Europe twice a year with his Barcelona based quintet, Emilio Solla & Afines, while working as a free-lance arranger and pianist in different projects in NY.


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